Google quickened the pace of its push into augmented reality this week, with the announcement of Article – a 3D model viewer designed to bring more AR capabilities to smartphones and tablets.
Google’s Article is compatible with all browsers (on mobile or desktop) and allows users to view and interact with digital web content superimposed on, or blended into the real world. Basically, with the new tool users will be able to find a model on the web and watch it come alive before them. For example, they will be able to place the model in a room and physically walk around it to inspect its characteristics.
When Article is loaded into a mobile AR-capable browser, an AR button will appear the bottom right, which when tapped will activate the phone’s camera. Once they’re placed, models can be moved around by tapping-and-dragging or turned using a two finger swipe gesture. Subtle features such as shadows and lighting are also part of the package, allowing the model to better blend into reality.
Google find itself among many companies that are rushing to take advantage of the surging interest in VR and AR. The company has been working on AR technologies for several years now and in 2017 it unveiled ARCore, a software development kit (SDK) meant to help developers integrate support for AR in their applications.
Article is just one of the many prototypes Google is working on right now, so there’s still lots of work to be done on it. Even so, the company wants to encourage more and more users to start experimenting with mobile AR on the web.
For those interested in learning more about experimental browsers and how to start creating your own prototypes, you’re invited to visit Google’s devsite.
Google also promises that in the next few months, there will hundreds of millions of Android and iOS devices available to provide AR experiences. The AR virus is spreading and Google wants to make sure you catch it!